Fairfax criminal lawyers- How to choose the right one for you
Fairfax criminal lawyers are many- How to choose the right one for you
Fairfax criminal lawyers abound in this county that has the largest trial court in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Criminal defendants have a dizzying number of attorneys they might consider hiring for defending them in this county. This choice can be as important as selecting a surgeon for a critical ailment. Care needs to be taken in this selection, starting with defining your goals for your defense and case outcome, knowing what your gut tells you about the lawyers you consult with, and your financial considerations, including whether to seek a court-appointed or retained attorney. Because I know about the importance of making this decision early on, I typically can meet with you the same day you call my law firm, or else the next business day.
What attributes do Fairfax criminal lawyers need to have in order to provide me the best possible defense?
See my my article and webinar on choosing your Virginia criminal defense lawyer. You would not go to an orthopedic surgeon to assist with a cardiac problem. Fairfax criminal lawyers run from those — like I — whose law practices overwhelmingly handles criminal defense, to those who rarely handle such work. Among Virginia criminal defense attorneys are those who more often defend drug, DUI, weapons, assault, theft, other cases, and usually a combination of them. The right lawyer for you will openly answer your questions about his or her law practice focus, experience, ability and reason for doing criminal defense in the first place. I was stunned when a lawyer I otherwise admire suggested that “a trial is a trial is a trial” in terms of being able to transfer skills and experience between doing civil and criminal trials. The right criminal defense lawyer for you will not hesitate to pull the proverbial trigger when needed for you, and will hopefully — as do I — completely delight in defending those accused of crimes.
Why did Jon Katz choose criminal defense?
My zeal for fighting for criminal defendants goes as far back as the age of nine when the adjacent fourth grade teacher had the audacity to accuse me of trespassing on the apartment grounds across the street for no other reason than that a brown-haired boy around my age in a blue coat was allegedly seen there. In one of my earlier instances of self-advocacy, I retorted: “Not only have I never been to that property, but I am stunned that you have singled me out just because I have the same color hair and type of coat that most boys my age wear,” and walked away from this disciplinarian whose jaw was by now fully dropped. So this is what misidentification and false accusations are all about. I have never wanted anything to do with that, other than defend. Fortunately, the man never won out with me who — when I was five years old and trying to make sense of someone being arrested near a bank — admonished me: “Crime does not pay.” What happened to the presumption of innocence unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before a jury, and about all the people for whom I do obtain acquittals?
What led your potential lawyer to choose criminal defense work?
Fairfax criminal lawyers include former prosecutors who switched sides, and those — like I — who have never prosecuted. In fact, I have never prosecuted and never will. As I have written in “The Illusion Of Needing To Hire A Former Prosecutor For Criminal Defense” and “Pausing Before Hiring A Former Prosecutor/Former Member Of The Opposing Army”, being a good prosecutor does not automatically translate into being a good criminal defense lawyer. Like an organ transplant patient, not all former prosecutors will adjust well to transitioning to criminal defense, whether because the former prosecutor’s heart is not into defending the accused, or if the former prosecutor is not ready to fight like hell for the numerous criminal defendants who at first seem to have just about all the cards stacked against them. One criminal defense attorney I know went as far as to tell a journalist that his decision to switch to criminal defense was primarily financial. Yes, lawyers and everyone else want to be fairly compensated for the sweat and toil they put into their work, but the ideal criminal defense attorney has the essential fire in his or her belly to keep the eyes on the prize of as much victory as possible even when the fight gets ugly and uncomfortable, and even when the criminal defense client is so vilified that representing that defendant risks the lawyer’s own standing with some people.
How well will your lawyer perform in court?
During a court recess many years ago, I sat down with the expert witness testifying for the defense — who always seemed to be cool as a cucumber when I would speak with him previously — and asked why he was acting so nervous on the witness stand (when all my over one dozen prior expert witnesses showed not even a bead of sweat). “Because I AM nervous testifying in public,” he responded. I replied: “Your $600 hourly billing should not include nervousness.” (With nobody else having his essential expertise, a later client hired him, and this time he testified with no apparent nervousness — having been further prepared by me — for which we obtained a felony acquittal.) The fact of the matter is that many criminal defense lawyers, as well, come across calm and collected in the comfort of the home court of their office, but bomb in the courthouse. This does not only happen in Hollywood, like with this example in My Cousin Vinny.
How do the right Fairfax criminal lawyers not shake when pulling the proverbial trigger?
Soldiers are barred from going to battle without first engaging in target practice and war games. True, a trial lawyer always has had a first trial, a surgeon has had his first surgery, and a cop has had her first arrest. It is your choice, though, whether to be that first trial experience with yhour lawyer. Nothing beats experience. An experienced fry chef who barely winces at getting a nasty greasepan burn has a bunch of previous burn scars lining his arm. Fairfax criminal lawyers who are already trial battle veterans and have already dealt with prosecutors acting in an underhanded fashion, with angry judges, and with police trying to throw off their game from the witness stand, are not dealing with such behavior for the first time, but as par for the course on a playing field that the lawyers accept and (for me at least) treat as their playground, while fighting to reverse those playing fields to the benefit of their accused clients.
How well will my Virginia criminal lawyer help me perform in court?
The less your choice among Fairfax criminal lawyers needs to sweat, the less you will sweat in court. Make sure your lawyer fully prepares you for court. Whether or not you expect to testify, have your lawyer prepare you to testify, as you and you alone will decide whether to do so. This includes such basics as handling objections, and where to look during testimony (at the judge during direct examination, but always keeping the defendant’s eyes on the opponent- the prosecutor). The more likely you are to testify, the more your lawyer will prepare you for testifying, and will provide you with the tools to be less nervous, including the power of practice before a relevant audience(s), and being in the moment through persuasive storytelling and psychodrama (working out challenges through role playing and reverse role playing, which can only be done with the the right practitioners). .
How well will my criminal lawyer and I interact?
Fairfax criminal lawyers may be well educated and well experienced, but also essential is for them to work well with their clients as a team. Early on in my criminal defense career, I gleefully told a supervising attorney about my client’s telling me of his plan to invite me to an extended family picnic. I was stunned when that supervisor told me to beware getting too close to our clients. I instead readily agreed with my teacher and great trial lawyer Gerry Spence who wisely counseled that to fully understand my murder defense client, incarcerated pretrial, that I should include visiting his family home, and even stay overnight there. My watchwords are know your client, love your client (or at least care about your client), and speak up for your client. My clients do not come to my office as a rarefied setting, but as a place of comfort for them, where we fully develop and prepare their court battle plan and strategy, and where I learn about them, not only through their case, but as the human beings we are, including taking the time for conversation and humor that has nothing to do with their case. My fully knowing my client, of course, has everything to do with their case and with their essential defense.
When should I hire a lawyer?
The sooner you choose among Fairfax criminal lawyers to defend you, the sooner they can powerfully go up against the prosecutor and police, who are not waiting for you to obtain a lawyer while they prepare the prosecution against you. This article will help you decide which lawyer to hire.
Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz takes your cause as his cause, pursuing your best defense against Virginia DUI, felony and misdemeanor prosecutions. Jon Katz is a zealot for the accused and knows he is on the side of the angels. Call 703-383-1100 for your free in-person confidential consultation with Jon about your court-pending case.